Panic Attacks?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Basically.. every so often I get what I think are panic attacks. For absolutely no reason what so ever, my hands will get this weird sensation like they’re just bones and then my thoughts start racing unbelievably fast. My breathing, my talking, my movements seem way too fast. The feeling is incredibly intense and terrifying.

After my thoughts start to race, I hear things like.. screaming and crying and in my head I know it’s me doing these things. It feels like I’m screaming at myself.. like hurting myself but I’m the victim at the same time. I get a lot of dejavu feelings, like flashbacks. My Mom said I used to describe these skeleton hands to her when I was younger and I only vaguely remember that.

The second or third attack was the worst.

In my head I saw what I can only describe as a witch in my brain.

She was screaming at me and she scared the crap out of me. The screaming seemed to intensify with thoughts of getting help.

I texted my friend and it automatically stopped.

It felt like my thoughts didn’t want to be known by my friend.

I kept thinking she would come back so I slept with the lights on.

My friend suggested that I try thinking about something good when these things happened so I tried to imagine my best friend Jasmine but it back fired on me. As soon as she popped up in my head, she started yelling at me.

These attacks are never triggered by anything and only last for a couple minutes but time doesn’t really matter when they happen.

I guess the only thing i can really think of with the whole “If anything of significance also recently happened in your life.” thing is that I was molested by my Dad two years ago and I was addicted to drugs at 14. I also self mutilate and am way too sexual for my own good.

A. I strongly recommend that you be evaluated by a medical doctor. You may be experiencing panic attacks but it’s important to rule out a medical cause. I would advise you to talk to your parents about seeing a primary care doctor or a neurologist.

You should also be evaluated by a mental health professional. A mental health professional may be helpful in determining if you’re having panic attacks. If they are panic attacks, please know that it is a very treatable condition. This condition usually requires therapy in which you learn an alternative way to cope with anxiety. Therapy focuses on giving you the psychological, emotional and behavioral tools you’ll need to combat panic and anxiety. Some people also take medication as a form of treatment. It has been found to be helpful in decreasing panic attacks.

It seems as though you have been dealing with very difficult issues. You’ve mentioned that you were molested by your father, were addicted to drugs by age 14, engage in self-mutilation and are sexually active. All these aforementioned issues could be related to why you are experiencing panic attacks, if that is in fact what is occurring. Talk to your parents about being evaluated by a medical doctor as well as seeing a mental health professional. It’s important that you make contact with medical and mental health treatment professionals as soon as possible. If you’re not sure how to speak to your parents about these issues then bring them this letter. It explains your concerns. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Aug 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Panic Attacks?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/08/05/panic-attacks-2/

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